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Josie Palmer, an Eagle View third-grader, eats with chopsticks while studying about China. Submitted Photo

Third-graders study ancient civilizations

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Ying Bartishofski, a night custodian at Eagle View Elementary School, shared her first-hand knowledge of her home country, The People’s Republic of China, with Kathie Harman’s and Deanne Trottier’s students this school year after they studied Ancient China.

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Ying, who was born and lived in China until age 36, is from the city of Jinan, Shandong, which has a population of more than 3 million. She was a primary source for the students and explained complex Chinese traditions and history about the major dynasties and emperors.

From Ying, the children experienced the Chinese language and sticky rice while using chopsticks. She answered many questions from the students and teachers and wrote the Mandarin Chinese characters for the topics the children were researching for their Ancient China alphabet book.

Children studied the geography of ancient and modern China, understood why China was so isolated from the rest of the world and learned that silk opened up trade and ideas throughout Europe and Asia.

Some students created their own sheet of paper, which was an ancient Chinese invention, enjoyed Asian treats such as fortune cookies and Pocky sticks, and wrote acrostic poems to demonstrate their knowledge of this ancient culture.

Ancient Civilizations are a new Minnesota State Social Studies Standard for third-graders. It was previously taught at the sixth-grade level. Harman taught the Ancient China standard, Trottier focused on Ancient Greece and Sean Bengtson taught about Ancient Egypt. Lisa Loven and Rhonda Sawyer shared the science standard topics, Inherited Traits and the Solar System.

The students rotated classrooms throughout the year to learn different topics from different teachers. In February, Ying earned her United States citizenship.

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